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HoLA: Week 6 (June 26-July 2) pages 153-274 (122 pages)-Post here from July 3rd on

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  • HoLA: Week 6 (June 26-July 2) pages 153-274 (122 pages)-Post here from July 3rd on

    of Leaves Again: The 2009 Re-Read!

    This discussion begins Friday, July 3rd over pages 153-274 (122 pages).

    Don't forget to cite the page numbers you wish to reference and quote people in posts.


    No spoilers allowed, please. This means that no material in this thread should reference things outside pages already read.

    Because we have to make this restriction, you may have already guessed, the rest of the forum does not take this precaution. To my knowledge, these re-read threads are the only spoiler-free areas of the forums.

  • #2
    Hi! I'm a new person, reading HoL for the first time, but I'm going to post here anyway, and there's nothing you can do about it! Hahahaha!

    Reading the pekinese story on p.266-8 made me think of the story of Saturn, devouring his children (check out the Goya art, with the head crushed as it is). In fact the story of the cannibalistic ogre-mother is a common feature in both psychology and fairy tales. It reflects the failure to separate from the parents, and the fear that the parent (usually mother) who gave us form will take that form away again. Overcoming that is one of the first challenges of individuation, which is why in fairy tales, the all-eating ogre is either the only challenge or appears relatively early in the story.

    In this case, we have a few pisces of evidence supporting this;
    1) The woman takes on Johnny's name
    2) The woman has a false face and identity (she's really a monster, even though she appears to be a sexy woman)
    3) The pekinese is left practically bloodless, suggesting vampirism.
    4) The woman describes herself as a "momma to all strays" (and Johnny identifies himself as a stray).
    5) Pelafina attempted to kill Johnny once (to save him from the pains of life), and a second time fried up his arms in cooking oil.
    6) Pelafina appears to be a sweet lady initially, but as her letters go on, we see a monster within, showing what we see outside doesn't match what's inside.

    In the context of the story, this obviously feeds into Johnny's problem with women (which in turn would feed into problems with mommy). Chronologically, this event occurs early in the story, prior to Zampano and everything that followed. It's one of the gatekeepers, and frankly, Johnny failed at his task. Perhaps he'll manage to reach past mommy later in the book. Like I said, I haven't read it yet :)


    • #3
      Interesting idea. There are a few diffuculties with the connotations in some of your points. Maybe if we can discuss those first and clarify them a bit, then we can go on to discussing the idea in general.

      1) Johnnie doesn't actually take on Johnny's name. It is her's prior to their meeting. Since she has the same name but in a slightly different form, I see her as being a representation of Johnny's femenine side.

      3) I re-read the Pekinese story but couldn't find anything that said it was left bloodless. I could have missed it but if you could quote the part you're referring to that would help.

      5) While P. did try to strangle Johnny, the arms I think were an accident. The frying pan fell off the stove and Johnny tried to catch it.

      This book is vast. The contents and events are often times hard to keep straight, we often forget so providing quotes with your points is always helpful.

      Lastly, welcome to the forums, beware of reading threads before you finish the book, we do not use spoiler warnings when discussing MZD's work.


      • #4
        1) It's difficult for me to differentiate between what Johnny perceives is objective truth, and what events are caused or altered by his observing them. So without further information, I'd be happy with either interpretation (that she was named Johnnie before Johnny met her, or that she was named Johnnie BECAUSE Johnny met her).

        I'm not convinced by the 'she's Johnny's anima' argument, though. I'd expect to see something attaching her to who he is (beyond just a name). Shared interests or even a sense of sameness. Johnny doesn't feel similar or attached to her though. He feels distant, like she's hiding something, or pretending to be something she isn't. She's a wolf in grandma's clothing. Aside from enormous fake cha-chas, she doesn't show any really feminine traits, she doesn't offer feminine traits Johnny is cut off from, nor does she come across as somehow repressed by him. I'll do some more searching on the forums to see if this debate has already been brought up, but where I am right now, I just can't see any evidence for it beyond that singular point.

        3) p. 268, "Me, staring down at that lifeless dog, not a speck of blood mind you, just a shadow looking alot like some sort of a charcoal drawing ..."

        5) I should be clear, I'm not applying motives to the second violent act. Simply stating facts; she was preparing to cook food, and soon Johnny find himself the one being cooked.


        • #5
          1) If Johnnie is named Johnnie because Johnny observed her, I think it would at least suggest that Johnny associates some part of himself with her.

          3) I see what you mean. The injuries Johnny describes, there should have been blood.

          5) I must disagree with you on the facts as you put them. P. was preparing to cook something, the pan got knocked over, Johnny attempted to catch it and found himself being burned. Your description of the events leaves out Johnny's action that results in him being burned.


          • #6
            Well apparently (p.266) she tells JT that her name is Johnnie though people call her Sled and her real name is Rachel, which JT speculates she's just making it all up.


            • #7
              Yeah. I can't make heads or tails of the Sled part though. That really bothers me.


              • #8